Understanding Athletic Recruiting
There is no doubt that navigating through the recruiting process can be very difficult. It's hard to know what's expected of you, when the recruiting contact period begins and ends, and what your step-by-step action plan should be. If you have solid guidance and you are willing to learn everything that you can about recruiting you will succeed at earning a scholarship.
The NCAA Contact Period is exactly what it sounds like—all communication between athletes and coaches is fair game. Coaches can email, text, call, direct message and generally contact athletes and their parents through any NCAA-approved method. In-person contact can occur on the college campus, as well as at tournaments, at the recruit’s school and home. In other words, the communication floodgates are open, so take advantage of this opportunity to get unlimited access to talk to coaches.
Recruiting tips for the NCAA Contact Period
This period is frequently used by coaches to visit athletes at their school, home and/or at tournaments and showcases. Coaches use this time to get to know their top recruits as they solidify offers. Meeting with a recruit and their family in person helps them evaluate the athlete’s personality and determine if they would be a positive addition to the program and the school.
This also gives recruits a unique opportunity to get to know a coach outside of the college campus. In-person meetings are the perfect time to ask in-depth questions of the coach. If you have any reservations about the program or the school, ask thoughtful questions to get a better feel for that school and determine if it’s the right fit for you.
If a coach does visit you during the contact period, this is a good sign that you are high on their prospect list. While an offer isn’t guaranteed during this visit, it’s a great idea to be prepared either way. Are you comfortable committing to the school if the coach extends an offer? Do you need more time to decide? Get on the same page with your parents before the coach arrives. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to gauge if a school is the right fit for you.
Insider Tips: Because it’s common for colleges to visit recruits at their school during the NCAA contact period, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the visit is successful. Let your coach, guidance counselor and even your teachers know when the coach will be visiting you. Make sure that your guidance counselor has an official transcript on hand for the coach. Get to school on time, dress nicely and clean out your locker. Even small things can leave a positive—or negative—impression on a coach. Follow up any visits with a “thank you” to the coach. Ask the coach if there’s any other information you can provide them, anything you should work on and what the next steps in the process are.
The parents’ role during a home visit
There are a few general guidelines for parents to consider when meeting with a coach in person. The coach is visiting the student-athlete at home to get to know them and gauge if they would be a positive addition to the team. This means parents need to take a step back. Let the athlete answer the coach’s questions, and avoid speaking over your child. In other words, make sure that the athlete is in the limelight.
When the conversation shifts to financials and housing, this is a good time for parents to jump into the conversation. Coaches expect that the parents will know more about the family’s financial situation. The most important thing to remember is the college coach is recruiting the student-athlete, not the parents. However, the coach is still evaluating the parents, watching to see if they dominate the conversation at every turn to speak for their student or if they allow their student to think for themselves and act more independently.
Insider Tip: If parents have a lot questions for the coach, discuss them with your student-athlete before the visit. Put together a list of questions for your student to ask the coach. The coach will appreciate that the student-athlete thought ahead, and the parents will get the answers they need.